"Where's that candy store that you always talk about?" Dean asked him, tugging on his sweater so that it covered more of his arms than it had previously. While it wasn't necessarily cold, there was a nip in the air that made it quite clear that winter was on its way. "Honeydukes, was it?"

"Oh sure, pretend you didn't badger me for weeks and weeks about all the stores here," Ambrose laughs, ducking behind Seamus when Dean moved to push him. Unfortunately for Seamus, Dean had no reservations and pushed him instead. Ambrose cackled when Seamus was pushed into him and moved him back towards Dean. He was so thankful that the two were back to normal. "Yeah, yeah, it's called Honeydukes. Would you two rather go there or to the Three Broomsticks first?"

He spoke more to Seamus than to Dean, the boy understanding that it was up to him to make the decision. Ambrose wanted to get to know the Irish boy better, seeing as he and Dean were so close and it was about time for their friendship to grow.

"Honeydukes, I suppose. You said they have really unique sweets?" In response, Ambrose sent him a wink and a vague reply, falling back a few steps. He was still a part of the conversation, but it was nice to stop and observe for a moment. The friendship between Dean and Seamus was so natural, and it was nice for him to see them so happy and animated. In their current political situation, these moments were starting to become rarer, and Ambrose was determined to savor these days where everything was simple.

--

The three boys didn't end up going back to the castle until many hours later. In the end it had been Ambrose's reminder that they had a feast to attend that snapped Dean and Seamus out of their candy and butterbeer induced haze. Ambrose was not missing the feast for anything in the world. Even though he already felt stuffed with sugar quills and pumpkin pasties, he still wanted to experience the feast in all of its decorated glory.

Dean led the way back to the castle, Seamus and Ambrose following in a comfortable silence until it was broken by the younger boy.

"Hey, thanks for this," Seamus said quietly, lifting his mug of butterbeer. Ambrose quirked his eyebrows, smiling at him.

"You've already thanked me, but you're welcome. I don't mind buying people things, I have a summer job for a reason." Ambrose shrugged it off, not seeing a big deal in his actions. He had bought them all three rounds of butterbeer and some candy, but it was nothing to him; he has spare money from his job and buying different things for his friends made him happy.

"Yeah, just-thanks for everything. I know some of your friends were disappointed when you said you couldn't stay with them, so thanks for sticking around."

Though Seamus was clearly trying to act indifferent, Ambrose could see that he was fairly uncomfortable with discussing this in depth. Ambrose doubted that Seamus made it a point of discussing feelings with anyone other than Dean, and possibly Neville Longbottom, another one of their close friends.

"You're my friends too." Ambrose said after a few moments of contemplative silence. Seamus threw a look towards Dean, one that Ambrose didn't miss. He didn't say anything, mainly because that was his business and he didn't know him nearly well enough to get into that. "Both of you."

The smile that Seamus sent him after that matched his eyes, and Ambrose decided that he understood why he was Dean's best friend.

--

As far as feasts at Hogwarts went, Ambrose would have to say that it was one of the best he had attended. The decorations were brilliant; between the large quantity of pumpkins, bats, and orange streamers in every imaginable space, the staff had clearly outdone itself. Ambrose wondered if they weren't trying to direct the attention away from the gloominess that carried from closeness with dementors; the creatures that were notorious for guarding the prison Azkaban, which mass murderer Sirius Black had recently escaped from, hence the extra security.

If the staff's intention had been to clear the atmosphere, they had done a perfect job; all across the hall, the mood was exuberant and contagious. Ambrose sat next to Angelina Johnson, listening eagerly to her reenactments of her day with Alicia Spinnett and Katie Bell.

Ambrose found himself wanting to spend more time with the group; Angelina's stories were heightened by jokes from Lee Jordan, as well as Fred and George's comments and anecdotes. Ambrose could not remember a day better than this, and he wasn't sure anything could ever top this.

By the end of the feast- the ghosts put on a show, some of them even reenacting their deaths, which was bloody brilliant and had Ambrose cheering loudly- he was dead tired physically, but emotionally he was the farthest thing from exhausted.

He felt rejuvenated in all the best ways, as though he was finally waking up from the anxiety that had been following him so far that year. He stood up with the rest of the group and followed the Gryffindor's to the entrance to the common room, dragging his feet and thinking of his lovely bed.

When the crowd seemed to stop moving altogether, he frowned, waiting for someone to say the password up front so that they all could enter. He wasn't sure why entering the common room was all of a sudden an event, but he assumed that someone was as tired as he and had forgotten the password.

After a few minutes it became clear to everyone in the crowd that a forgotten password was not the issue at all. Ambrose was much too short to be able to see over the heads of those in front of him, and he did not have the chance to ask someone what was going on, because Percy Weasley was suddenly shoving through the crowd with Albus Dumbledore.

The first thought in Ambrose's head upon seeing the headmaster was, simply, oh shit. His presence meant that the situation must be more serious than he had expected; sure enough, after a few more tense minutes, the name Sirius Black drifted back to him and Ambrose felt his whole body freeze up.

He was suddenly wide awake.

hi guys!! so I finally got around to writing, and finally have gotten my motivation back!! I'm so excited to keep writing (:

oberyns reviewed this story in her book review shop and I'm so grateful for it. it was such an honest and kind review, and I took every word to heart in the best way. thank you so much and I really am still so glad that you enjoyed reading this book!!! thank you for all the honesty and the reviews (:

cryingforobrien and SleeplessInAustralia are actually the best for listening to me discuss this story with them in hopes of getting inspired. Rae, I hope there was enough dean in this chapter for you, and thanks for always inspiring me!!

george and Ambrose are going to have some real moments in the next chapter and I can't wait to write them out!!

published: 8/9/18

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